Before we ponder the absurdity of a landslide win in an election held in Russia, let’s go back to July last year. 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ organisers announced a preliminary shortlist of 10 potential mascots, including a robot, a cosmonaut, and an alien.
None of which made it through to the final three, alas, which consisted of a tiger, a cat, and a wolf.
Those three remaining contenders entered into a three-way death match broadcast live on the internet and on Russian TV over a full month.
Scarred, snarling, and soaked with the blood of his opponents, a wolf named Zabivaka emerged victorious.
Ok, so an amiable jalapeño wearing a sombrero he is not. He looks like a snowboarder propping up the bar after a long afternoon falling on his arse.
Over the next two years we football followers will be obliged to fall in love with the wolf, who follows whatever the mascot at Brazil 2014 was. (It was some sort of rodent, wasn’t it? Or maybe a root vegetable.)
Read these chilling words from Local Organising Committee Chairman, Vitaly Mutko:
Our Mascot is tasked with inspiring supporters, getting the wider population involved in football and inviting them to the stadiums in order to experience memorable and positive emotions.
That sounds a bit like being “invited” to KGB headquarters to “experience” vivid and memorable emotions. Anyway…
Zabivaka is, according to the official™ FIFA™ statement™, “charming, confident and social and has always dreamt of becoming a football star.”
This charming, confident and social wolf has also “taken to wearing cool sports glasses when he’s in action; he believes they give him special targeting powers on the pitch. And he loves to pose for photos!”
Oh man, the mascot is a vain lupine version of Edgar Davids.
But wait, here’s the real shock: His favourite sporting pastime is playing football.
NO EFFING WAY! That’s friggin’ GENIUS. Wow.
Not like that chook mascot they had at France 98 that was only interested in shagging players’ wives.
Or Naranjito, who spent most of the 1982 tournament behind bars after being accused of drug smuggling.
Returning to Zabivaka, that snowboarding wolf reminds me of someone… just can’t think who…